I went to a funeral Wednesday morning and felt strangely apart from everyone there. Almost like an alien observer from another planet. The lady had worked for a florist almost 30 years. I was struck by the fact all the ladies attending worked outside the home even when their kids were young.
Art and I talked during our afternoon walk about the assumption I’d get a job. Again it revolved around easing our finances a bit. He asked, “Is Christ pleased with you?” I thought I could use my time better. He said, “The people who expect it don’t take into consideration my schedule. I like to know that everything is in order at home. That I can trust you to take care of things.”
This quote has been rattling around as well, “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.”- Horace (65-8 BC) Roman Poet. Isaac observed that same truth several years ago. He said, “being poor” made me more creative. I would never in a million years have attempted a garden, or taught my self to cook and can, rewire lamps, repair furniture, mend socks, quilt, cut hair, keep a written budget, write articles, unless we were in this situation. I might have considered foraging, if only for the romance of it, but not in earnest. Even my mom, married to a sculptor, attempted very few of these things. “Adversity” pushed me into scary places. Past the “plant killer” stage. Past early canning failures. Past indestructible pie crust. To make do in oddball ways, by using things for unintended purposes.
Being different is lonely though. What do you talk about when there’s assumed equity? “What’s your cell phone number?” “I told my hairdresser I wanted a different color.” “This place has the best crab cakes.” “Where are you going for vacation?” “You’d really like this (cable) TV program.” How do you untangle that kind of presuppositionalism? You can’t. I’m tempted sometimes to talk about cooking burdock roots, gathering places for mulberries and wild raspberries, trash picked finds. Just to throw a wrench in. But it’s sort of like the Far Side cartoon of a dog cocktail party. First frame. One dog says to another as everyone is chatting away. “The doctor says I have worms.” Second frame. Silence.
Being the introspective type, I have to consciously pull away from self pity. To change context. This is not my home. This will not last. It finally revolves around Art’s question. “Is Christ pleased?”